Global Electrification: Multinational Enterprise and International Finance in the History of Light and Power, 1878-2007

Global Electrification: Multinational Enterprise and International Finance in the History of Light and Power, 1878-2007


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This book examines how multinational enterprises and international finance influenced the course of electrification around the world. Multinational enterprises played a crucial role in the spread of electric light and power from the 1870s through the first three decades of the twentieth century. Their role did not persist, as over time they exited through "domestication" (buy-outs, confiscations, or other withdrawals), so that by 1978 multinational enterprises in this sector had all but disappeared, replaced by electrical utility providers with national business structures. Yet, in recent years, there has been a vigorous revival. This book, a unique cooperative effort by the three authors and a group of experts from many countries, offers a fresh analysis of the history of multinational enterprise, taking an integrative approach, not simply comparing national electrification experiences, but supplying a truly global account.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521299008
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 06/30/2011
Series: Cambridge Studies in the Emergence of Global Enterprise
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 986,393
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

William J. Hausman is Chancellor Professor of Economics at the College of William & Mary. He was president of the Business History Conference, 2006–2007. Hausman has written extensively on the history of the electric utility industry. His recent publications include Webs of Influence and Control: Personal Financial Networks in the Formative Years of the US Electric Power Industry in Annales Historiques de l'Electricité; (with John Neufeld) The Market for Capital and the Origins of State Regulation of Electric Utilities in the United States in the Journal of Economic History; and US Foreign Direct Investment in Electric Utilities in the 1920s in Mira Wilkins and Harm Schröter, eds., The Free-Standing Company in the World Economy.

Peter Hertner has just retired as Professor of Economic and Social History at the Historical Institute, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg. He is now working at the European University Institute, Florence, Italy. He is an expert on the history of German foreign investments. In his numerous publications, he has made fundamental contributions on the banking and electrical industries in Germany, Italy, and Spain, as well as on the history of multinational enterprise. His current work is on German investments in the electrical industry in South America.

Mira Wilkins is Professor of Economics at Florida International University. She is a former president of the Business History Conference and in 2004 was given the Life Time Achievement Award by that organization. Her The Emergence of Multinational Enterprise and The Maturing of Multinational Enterprise documented the history of American business abroad from the colonial era to 1970, while her The History of Foreign Investment in the United States to 1914 and her Foreign Investment in the United States, 1914–1945 cover inward foreign investments. She has published numerous articles and other books on the history of multinational enterprise.

Table of Contents

Part I. Concepts: 1. Invention and spread of electrical utilities with a measure of the extent of foreign ownership; 2. Multinational enterprise and international finance; Part II. Changes: 3. Every city, 1880-1914; 4. War, the first nationalization, restructuring, and renewal, 1914-29; 5. Basic infrastructure, 1929-45; Part III. Conclusions: 6. Summary of the domestication pattern to 1978; 7. Coming full circle, 1978-2007, and a global perspective.

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